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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Tamil course available
Colloquial Tamil gives the learner a good introduction to spoken Tamil and exposes you to very natural, conversational usage. It is a must to get the book and the audio, otherwise you will not get a good feel for it.
The Routledge Colloquial series is not to everyone's liking. The emphasis being on practical conversational language as opposed to a comprehensive...
Published on 2 Sept. 2008 by H Raz

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Book for Language Learning
WARNING - I got the impression from the above description tha tthis book comes along with the 2 CD's with which it should be used. It doesn't, and I needed to order these direct from Taylor & Francis.
Having satisfactorily studied languages before using "beginner's guide" style books I was very disappointed with the structure of this book. It is in no way conducive...
Published on 21 Jan. 2005 by Scott Rennie


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Book for Language Learning, 21 Jan. 2005
By 
Scott Rennie (Kilmarnock, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
WARNING - I got the impression from the above description tha tthis book comes along with the 2 CD's with which it should be used. It doesn't, and I needed to order these direct from Taylor & Francis.
Having satisfactorily studied languages before using "beginner's guide" style books I was very disappointed with the structure of this book. It is in no way conducive to learning for a beginner and little thought appears to have gone into its presentation. Some of the exercises require you to use vocabulary and/or grammar that is not explained until later in the book. The introduction of this vocabulary and grammar is piecemeal, with no apparent logic to it. Also, the CD's don't tie in perfectly with the book exercises.
On the plus side, it is a hundred times better than other 'learn Tamil' books I have seen.
It's probably okay for learning tamil if you havea class to go to, or are living in a Tamil-speaking area, but not for home study. Time for a rethink on structure and content from T&F methinks!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Tamil course available, 2 Sept. 2008
By 
H Raz (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
Colloquial Tamil gives the learner a good introduction to spoken Tamil and exposes you to very natural, conversational usage. It is a must to get the book and the audio, otherwise you will not get a good feel for it.
The Routledge Colloquial series is not to everyone's liking. The emphasis being on practical conversational language as opposed to a comprehensive grammar coverage like the Hodder and Stoughton "Teach Yourself" series. However, there is no Teach Yourself Tamil course. I have come across a number of Tamil courses all of which are truly abysmal. Routledge's Colloquial Tamil is better than all of these by an infinite amount. It is the only Tamil course on the market worth getting, so while it may not give you as structured a coverage as Teach Yourself, there really is no other choice.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great for anyone with existing knowledge of the language..., 3 April 2005
This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
before you read on with this review, i think its essential that you know that i am actually a 22-year-old sri-lankan from a tamil-speaking background! so unlike most people considering this book, i actually have a fair knowledge of the language!
strangely enough, i never managed to pick up the language as a child, and spent most of my teens trying to learn it (admitedly half-heartedly!). i had absolutely no luck in finding a teach-yourself book anywhere! this book was therefore a wonderful suprise, and now, being 3 chapters into the book, am finding it a joy.
obviously, having a lifetime's "knowledge" of Tamil, as it were, i can only offer a biased perspective on this book. but for anyone like me who, despite having grown up surrounded by the language, has not yet picked it up, this will probably be your saviour. it gave me the confidence, through knowledge of grammatical rules etc, to string together the odd words i already knew into sentences, while also teaching me useful phrases through the selection of colloquial dialogues.
all in all, probably not perfect for the beginner, (but then its its the only Teach-yourself-Tamil course/book i've ever come across!). but for someone with knowledge of the language already- ie young tamil adults who cant quite speak it but would like to learn, its perfect!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Best of a bad bunch, 30 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I'd reiterate what previous reviews say; this is a poorly-written book full of badly devised exercises, missing information, difficult to grasp explanations, and is generally well below the standard of any other 'teach yourself' language book for any European language. Furthermore, the accompanying CD is at extra cost ([...]) and it too contains recordings which are what seem like gabbled, far too fast versions of the dialogue, so that even after multiples hearings, it's still hard to work out what they're saying, even with the text in front of you! Definitely not appropriate for 'beginners'!

BUT...
You will learn some Tamil from it at least and it outshines other Tamil courses available by far, particularly some of those available in India! For anyone who's merely interested in learning a bit of Tamil with no previous knowledge, like me, I'd highly recommend exploring the following website, which has very basic introductory sentences in Unit 1 and a lot of interesting cultural info in the 'New' section at the top:
[...]
And if that whets your appetite, then prepare yourself for this book, but don't expect too much!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Available - but that doesn't make it perfect., 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I feel as though the other reviews for this text are rather unfair. The book is laid out far better than any other text that I have read regarding the Tamil language. I had a relatively basic knowledge of Tamil already, which may be why I did not face some of the issues of other reviews.

There are issues with the book, particularly regarding mistypes - however nothing like as bad as you may have been led to believe.

My biggest gripe is that the book features very little Tamil Script, with everything attempting to be spelled using the English alphabet. I can read Tamil text, so this is a big hindrance for me, particularly as some of the English transcript is a little odd to me - for example, the book uses 'o' for the 'u' sound in Tamil, which would lead me to pronouncing words incorrectly if I didn't already have a small background knowledge of the language.

Despite the above gripes, I am very happy to finally have bought a resource worth having - this is the best available at present, and is worth buying if you cannot wait for the 2nd edition to be released at the very start of next year.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor - a shoddy production, 22 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I've been trying to use this course, but it is very poorly written, in fact in many ways it's terrible - a shoddy production. I have really struggled to learn from it, and have been constantly exasperated by its sloppiness.

The main faults are:

- Very badly explained grammar points - vague, sloppy, sometimes even wrong, and often incomplete, so that the learner is left bewildered
- Grammar items mentioned as if they're already know, when they haven't been introduced before
- Vocabulary missing from the vocabulary lists for the lessons
- Vocabulary missing from both the vocabulary lists for the lessons and the glossaries at the end of the book
- The dialogues do not illustrate to a sufficient extent the new grammatical points introduced during the lesson. A very important new area of grammar may be introduced and then be represented only once in the dialogues for that unit. I often get the feeling that the dialogues 'miss the point' of the material introduced in each unit.
- On the CD, the dialogues are gabbled so fast that many passages are impossible (for a beginner, at least) to follow. I understand that listening material should reflect natural everyday speech, but here much of the material really is too fast for a beginner's course.

Here is a detailed list of issues with Units 1-5, to give you some idea of how bad this course is.

Unit 1

The words sari and ille are not in any vocabulary list in this lesson.

The dialogues on the CD are gabbled and almost incomprehensible. Very unhelpful for a beginner. The actors should have been asked to articulate the words more clearly at this early stage.

Unit 2

Dialogue 1 eeru is not in any vocabulary list in this lesson.

Dialogue 1 suffix -um (niingaLum - you too) is unexplained in the grammar or in any vocabulary list in this lesson.

The word sinimaa is not in any vocabulary list in this lesson and is left unexplained.

Dialogue 2 pooDu (set, put) is not in any vocabulary list in this lesson.

Dialogue 2 vikkidu is not in any vocabulary list in this lesson, in fact it's not even in the glossary at the back of the book.

The final ruubaa of Dialogue 2 is mis-spelt ruuba.

Dialogue 3 kuDu has already been introduced in Unit 1 and does not need to appear in the vocabulary list for this dialogue.

Dialogue 3 last line, what does adeyee mean? This word is unexplained. It becomes clear in later lessons that it's possibly adu (acc. ade) with glide vowel -y- and suffix -ee but at this stage the learner cannot know that.

p. 27 Present tense - very confusingly written, and the confusion is worsened by the italicised r in ukkaarudu in the examples. This is not a present tense suffix, so should not be italicised. It is part of the verb stem ukkaaru! The explanation of inanimate present tense forms is inadequate here. It's not clear from the information given in Units 1 and 2 whether all inanimate third person forms for -kkir- verbs have -kk- in the present tense, or whether this applies just to iru. It certainly seems untrue that 'The tense suffix is omitted in the third person neuter forms' (p. 27). The -r- is omitted, but the -kk- isn't, as the form aDikkidu in dialogue 3 shows. The -i- after the -kk- here is not explained, however, unless there is another (unstated) rule that the present tense suffix for third person neuter forms can be -kk- or -kki-. This whole section on the present tense is deeply unhelpful and should be rewritten from scratch, with the rules clearly laid out with clear (and correct!) examples.

p. 32 kuDukkaNum - this form is left unexplained. It is not introduced until Unit 3.

p. 33 Accusative case, 'An object noun that does not refer to a human being may not have this case suffix if it is not particularised'. What does 'may not have' mean here? Does it mean 'it can sometimes happen that it does not have' or 'is not allowed to have'? Very confusing and unhelpful.

Why is the explanation of rippeer under the heading 'All'?

p. 35 Notes on iru 'be' - hopelessly confusing. In the first place, the locative has not been introduced anywhere so far, and is referred to here but not explained. The difference between -giTTe and -TTe is not explained here or anywhere else in the book. The locative suffix -le on ooTTalle is left unexplained until page 56, where, under the heading 'Location', only this ending (and not -giTTE or -TTe) is introduced as a locative suffix. On page 228 there are two lines of information about the locative, with the unhelpful rider 'usually'.

p. 36 Noun as 'adjective' in predicate. The explanations here are so opaque as to be useless. This section needs a complete rewrite.

In this unit the dialogues on the CD are articulated a little more clearly than in Unit 1 but some sections are still gabbled, in particular the words 'embadu ruuba kuDukkireen. poo.'.

Exercise 2 sentences 12 and 13: the model answers here include the neuter verb form 'poogum'. The -g- here is a great surprise and has not been taught so far. How can any student possibly be expected to come up with untaught material when trying to do an exercise?

Unit 3

p. 41 'Starting the day'. This paragraph tells us that two types of snack, doose and iDli, are mentioned in the dialogue. The word iDli is not mentioned in any dialogue.

p. 48 'The use of -Num to express need or obligation'. We are told that this suffix is added to the infinitive of the verb. The infinitive has not yet been taught! In fact the infinitive is not introduced until as late as Unit 7 (p. 105), though it is referred to also on pages 56, 69, 79, and 94 without having been previously explained. This is very very sloppy.

p. 49 why is the word for 'twenty' spelt irubadu here where elsewhere (and in the glossary at the back of the book) it's spelt iruvadu?

Unit 4

Dialogue 1 - the words erangu, seyreen are not in the vocabulary list.

p. 56 we are told to use the infinitive with muDiyum. The infinitive has not yet been introduced. It is not taught until p. 105.

p. 59, negative imperative. The instructions for forming the negative imperative are wrong. The endings are not added to the verb stem, they are added to the infinitive. This explains the rule (presented here) that -kkir-present verbs must add -kk- before the negative imperative ending. This is actually the -kk- of the inifinitive.

Dialogue 3 - the words inimee and nerappunga are not in the vocabulary list for this lesson, nor are they in the glossary at the back of the book.

Dialogue 3 line 1 - the final n of paNNaNum should be retroflex, not ordinary n.

p. 60 Exercises 10 and 12: in Exercise 10 kaalejule, in Exercise 12 kaalejle. Why the inconsistency? Why is this left unexplained?

Exercise 12 tongudu this verb form is unexplained and not listed in the glossary at the back of the book. In the answers to the exercise, is tongudu to be taken as an imperative, even though the word in brackets after it in the exercise '(hangs)' suggests a present tense? This is all very confusing and unhelpful.

Unit 5

We are told on p. 69 that to negate an action taking place in present or past time, ille is added to the infinitive. The infinitive has not yet been taught. It is not introduced until p. 105 in Unit 7. We are also told to add the suffix -laam to the infinitive on p. 71, and told to add -TTum to the infinitive on p. 79. It is extremely sloppy to expect us to use the infinitive before teaching us how it is formed.

Dialogue 2 - neettu, veLiye, perusaa and oNNum are not in the vocabulary list for this dialogue. The word perusaa is not even in the glossary at the end of the book! So its exact meaning is impossible to determine.

Dialogue 3 - aanaa is not in the vocabulary list for this lesson.

p. 79 'Subject in the dative'. This short paragraph is absolutely useless. It does not explain how teri, puri, piDi or mara are conjugated or used. Should we use the present tense? The future (habitual) tense? The past tense (for mara)? In the one example offered from Dialogue 3, the form of the verb piDikkidaa is left unexplained, it looks like a present tense with interrogative suffix, but in Exercise 10 sentence 5 the form used is pidikkum (NB: with the wrong type of d). The learner is left completely mystified here - is the present tense or the future (habitual) used with piDi? This really is not good enough. The feeble explanation here requires considerable expansion and many good examples if it is to be at all useful in explaining the use of dative subjects and the verbs which require them.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Definitely No..., 14 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Colloquial Tamil: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
Poorly written. Even if you could manage to read words such as pattu (pathu sounds better), you are still not speaking tamil.
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